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Published on February 21, 2024
California AG Rob Bonta Leads Bipartisan Push Demanding Congress Curb Escalating Prescription Drug CostsSource: Google Street View

California Attorney General Rob Bonta is making big waves in a bipartisan push against sky-high prescription drug prices, calling upon Congress to enact legislation aimed at reining in Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs). According to a press release from his office, Bonta, alongside a coalition of 39 attorneys general from across the political spectrum, described PBMs as key players contributing to the escalating costs impacting consumers' wallets and their health.

"Millions of Americans across this country cannot afford life-saving drugs due to pharmaceutical prices that are soaring at an alarming rate. This is simply abhorrent and unacceptable," Bonta stated. Aligned in their effort, the attorneys general are calling for greater transparency and accountability to tackle the unfair and deceptive tricks that pad the pockets of PBMs on the backs of those needing medications.

Bonta's crusade against PBMs doesn't end at urging legislative action. He has also been active on the legal front. In a move showing his advocacy's depth, he filed a lawsuit last January targeting the nation's largest insulin makers, accusing them of unlawfully inflating costs. Continuing his campaign, Bonta joined coalitions backing states' rights to regulate PBMs, including supporting Oklahoma in PMCA v. Mulready and North Dakota in PCMA v. Wehbi.

In the letter addressed to congress leaders, the attorneys general cited the potential reform from three pieces of pending legislation: the DRUG Act, Protecting Patients Against PBM Abuses Act, and Lower Costs, More Transparency Act. They believe these could be vital steps in curbing the healthcare costs that burden Americans. Having joined forces with attorneys general from states as diverse as Alaska, Texas, and New York, Bonta's coalition reflects a rare common ground in a highly divisive political climate.